Barbara Patrick, Ph.D.
Barbara Patrick, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science, chairperson of Faculty Senate Task Force for Climate, Race and Diversity Issues
Years at EMU
Why You Like Working Here
I moved here from Mississippi, and when I came here, I valued the diversity of the campus and the amount of women who were in positions of authority. That’s not really something you see in Mississippi. The students are very diverse as well, and a lot of fun. I love how they’re so open and willing to listen and learn. They’re willing to engage with the lessons presented to them and get the work done.
Favorite EMU Moment
My favorite moments are when there is a need for something on campus and everybody unites to listen and help out. All you had to do was ask and people would jump in, even if they were busy. I’ve seen this consistently and in several different instances. This summer, for example, the Faculty Senate and the AAUP got together to create a Diversity Training Workshop for faculty members. We didn’t know what to expect, because we were sponsoring it in the middle of summer when faculty members weren’t under contract and were living all over the country. We sent out the invite a week before, and in a matter of days, 130 faculty members signed up to attend. It shocked me because it showed they actually cared. They didn’t just say it and not actually do it.
Favorite Campus Spot
The pond right outside the Student Center is beautiful. When I first moved here, I saw a picture of that spot and thought, “wow, this is where I want to be.” I used that space to show all my friends at home where I was living and how nice it was.
I get inspired when I’m in an environment where students are highly energized to make a difference and take opportunities to serve a greater need in society. Watching them come up with ideas really motivates me. I also love to see students change and grow. In the political science department, we take trips down south and visit spots of historical significance to the civil rights movement. I’ve never seen a student go on that trip and come back the same person. Seeing that change in them motivates me to work harder.
Once upon a time in my life, I was a singer. As a student, I considered quitting school and becoming part of a girl group. Thank God I didn’t do that, because there are a lot of challenges in that industry, but I still love to sing and write a little music today.
I would want to see a person who’s about to say insulting things, and be able to just point and mute them before they could say it.
My next immediate goal is to be promoted from an associate to a full faculty member. Being able to make it to the highest level would be a huge accomplishment, and hopefully it’s something that other young women I know can aspire to.
Another goal I have is to be of greater service to the university and advance the diversity and inclusion agenda. It’s something that people have been critical of the university about, and I was critical once too. But I had that awakening moment where I said, “you have a couple of options here: you can continue to sit back and complain, you can fall back and give up, or you can choose to actively engage.” And I chose the latter.
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